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What: Shares of Columbia Sportswear Company soared on Friday after the company reported strong fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday evening. By noon, the stock had risen more than 15%.
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So what: Revenue rose by 27% year-over-year during the fourth quarter, with organic sales, which exclude recent acquisitions and the company's China joint venture, growing by 15%. Analysts were expecting just 19% revenue growth.
Columbia's profits also soared, with operating income jumping 57% and net income rising 51%. The company recorded EPS of $0.79 for the fourth quarter, beating analyst estimates by $0.12. This profit growth was driven by both revenue growth and an increase in the gross margin, which came in at 45.4% during the fourth quarter, up from 44.6% during the fourth quarter of 2013.
Footwear was a standout for Columbia during the quarter, growing by 43% year-over-year. This was driven by a 40% jump in sales of Columbia's Sorel line of winter boots. Footwear now represents 24.7% of Columbia's total sales, up from 22% during the fourth quarter of 2013.
Now what: Columbia expects the good times to keep rolling, although growth is expected to slow a bit in 2015. The company expects low double-digit sales growth this year, with the operating margin expanding to 9.7%, up from 9.5% in 2014. Full-year EPS is expected to grow roughly 11% to between $2.10 and $2.20.
The company plans to focus on its existing brands going forward, driving organic growth and profitability, instead of acquiring new ones. Columbia does depend heavily on the winter months for the bulk of its sales, and last year the second quarter was an unprofitable one for the company due to this seasonality. Acquisitions could help fix this problem, and the company has a strong balance sheet if it decides to go that route in the future.
The article Why Shares of Columbia Sportswear Company Soared Today originally appeared on Fool.com.
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